Why Do Women Get Borderline Personality Disorder?

why do women get borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health issue that causes relationship instability, erratic behavior and fears of abandonment. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1.4% of U.S. adults experience BPD, and 75% of people diagnosed with this disorder are women. 

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD fits the definition of a personality disorder because its symptoms can affect your behavioral and relationship patterns. If you have BPD, you might subject people around you to erratic mood swings. You could also have low self-worth that causes you to mistrust your judgment. 

People with BPD tend to have a distorted sense of self and may feel chronically bored or empty. As a result, you may experiment with reckless behavior like spending more than you can afford, having unprotected sex, self-harm or substance abuse. Unfortunately, these can make your BPD worse in the long run by contributing to shame and guilt, causing feelings of worthlessness.

Like other mental health issues, BPD is complex and does not have one readily identifiable cause. Instead, it stems from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Why is BPD so prevalent among women?  

1. Early Childhood Trauma and Abuse 

Adverse childhood experiences like sexual abuse or other kinds of trauma can leave people dealing with the emotional aftermath for years. While abuse and neglect can happen in any household, young girls are the target far more often than boys. Such early abuse tends to create a sense of victimization that can make it challenging for women to trust other people. It can also cause a damaged self-image, which is a leading characteristic of women with BPD.

2. Women Are More Likely to Reach out for Help

In contrast to men, who often feel they cannot show any signs of weakness for fear of being judged, women who struggle with their mental health are more likely to open up to their doctor or therapist about their problems. As a result, women with BPD may get the diagnosis and support they need to start feeling better about themselves, while men who have the same symptoms go undiagnosed and continue to suffer in silence.

3. Social Expectations

Either purposefully or unconsciously, many parents still follow outdated gender norms and raise their daughters to be less confident and independent. By the time these little girls become women, they’ve internalized the idea that their self-esteem derives from the people around them.  

These same cultural mores may also have led to a bias among health professionals who diagnose women with BPD. Some evidence suggests clinicians are more likely to diagnose BPD in women than men, even in situations where the patient details are identical in every factor except gender.

A Safe Place to Heal

Women with mental health problems like BPD are more likely to use alcohol and drugs to find relief from their symptoms, which can lead to a dual diagnosis of BPD and a substance use disorder. With women’s-only treatment, you can begin to recover your health and quality of life. Women progress through addiction differently and encounter unique barriers to seeking help, which is why a single-gender environment is so beneficial. Contact us to verify your insurance coverage and learn more about starting your recovery journey.

Benefits of Residential AddictionTreatment

You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick. This is the philosophy behind our residential addiction treatment program. At Canyon Crossing, women learn to live life on life’s terms while staying in a safe, substance-free setting. This gives our clients the space and peace needed for lasting recovery.
Our residential program combines high-accountability sober living arrangements with first-rate clinical care. While staying in our homes, clients participate in process groups, one-on-one counseling sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities. They also receive ongoing training; in these meetings, life skills like financial management and conflict resolution are imparted. All of this happens with 24/7 encouragement, guidance, and supervision from our clinical team.
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